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Thread: Mini review - Tamron 60 f2 macro

  1. #1
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    Mini review - Tamron 60 f2 macro

    Well it arrived today and so I just thought I would give my initial impressions and perhaps do a more comprehensive review at a later date. This is the Nikon version and used on a D300.

    Build & size
    Below are some images comparing it to its bigger brother, the Tamron 90 f2.8. Obviously the 60 is more compact though only slightly lighter than the 90 (390g vs 405g). Both have a 55mm filter and thickness is about the same. The second image shows the 90mm fully extended @ the maximum magnification whereas the 60 is completely internal focusing which is one reason why wanted this version.







    Focusing
    The AF on the 60mm is very good and quite snappy for a macro. Unfortunately the AF on my 90 is not working at the moment and I only discovered this today when I wanted to do a comparison. However I would have to say the AF on the 60 would be significantly faster and much quieter than the 90. Seems to focus ok in low light as well which is great for portrait work.

    The AF ring is a bit stiff on the 60 but I'm sure it will loosen up with use. The 60 has a small AF/MF switch on the left side in contrast to the clutch arrangement on the focus ring of the 90. Below are some quick grab shots just using AF and the centre point on the D300 (it was a bit windy so would have liked faster shutter speeds for optimum sharpness). These are natural light and handheld.







    Image Quality
    Haven't done any head to head tests against the 90 yet but judging by the images I've taken so far, sharpness seems about the same and CA is very well controlled and I suspect better than the 90.

    For those interested in using this lens for portraits I have included a few images below shot at f2.2 (the lens aperture only opens to f2 at near infinity so you won't be able to use it 'wide open' for normal portrait shots). It stays at f2.2 within about 0.6m of the subject and then jumps up to 2.4 (those familiar with macro lenses will understand that the effective aperture gets smaller as you near the minimum focusing distance).

    Some bokeh tests @ f2.2








    A couple of portraits (Matthew my eldest son) and 100% crops @ f2.2. These are SOOC with in-camera sharpening set to +5 which is moderate.




    100% crop





    100% crop



    While it's not exactly tack sharp at f2.2 it's pretty decent if you ask me and certainly more than useable.



    Working distance and magnification
    Working distance at 1:1 is about the same as the 90mm (100mm). However with the 68mm Kenko tubes it actually has more WD (75mm) from the front filter than the 90 (65mm). This is a pleasant surprise and for me at least, that extra 10mm will be very welcome. Magnification is also higher with the tubes topping out at 2.36x versus 2.0x on the 90. This means that according to the formula my 60mm macro is actually 50mm at its minimum focus distance.

    Conclusion
    Overall for me this will be a worthwhile upgrade with the extra WD, internal focusing, and higher magnification with tubes. The faster AF and good performance at f2.2 are just icing on the cake The only possible issue is that my home made ring flash adapter will have to fit over (and cover the front part of) the focus ring, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    Cheers
    Leigh
    Last edited by TEITZY; 21-09-2009 at 4:53pm.
    Nikon D600, 24-70, 300 VR1 2.8, Tamron 60 f2 macro + Kenko tubes. SB800.



    My Nikonians Gallery

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    Looks like a keeper Leigh! Good write up.

    Was the main reason for the change due to the internal focusing?

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    Thanks Matt.

    Yeah the internal focusing was a major plus, mainly for when using the ring flash adapter since I can't really zoom back with the 90 (pretty much stuck at 2x). Also was chasing a little extra magnification for smaller subjects and the dew drop refractions. Will be interesting to see how it performs with the Kenko 1.4 TC as well (3.3x).

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Member R1titan's Avatar
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    Seems like a great lens for crop cameras.
    Curious, is the focus motor as noisey as the 90?

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    Quote Originally Posted by R1titan View Post
    Curious, is the focus motor as noisey as the 90?
    No much quieter

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Did some more tests tonight and as I suspected the 60mm has basically no CA (purple fringing) at wider apertures whereas it is quite pronounced when using flash on the 90 up to f11.

    Optimum sharpness @ 1:1 appears to be around f14-16 for both lenses and they're pretty evenly matched, however the 60 appears sharper at wider apertures (f5.6-11).

    Another small difference is that the 60 has a 1 stop more light at the minimum focus distance (f4 vs f5.6 on the 90mm).

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Leigh, a very good read with good quality pics to back it up.
    It certainly looks like it delivers the sort of performance you wanted and the focal length on APSC bodies will make it an excellent "dual purpose" lens.

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    Nice bit of info Leigh....now you've brought on the lens lust factor in me again...thanx 4 that

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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    looks pretty sweet. nice rightup mate.

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    Thanks guys. Hope it was helpful. As well as the Tamron I just bought a 300VR 2.8 so my NAS is about complete, (at least for this week)

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Thanks for this review, have been looking at the Tamron 90 f2.8 for D90 so timing is perfect, Cheers
    Camera- Nikon D90+two kit lenses(18-55, 55-200), for now.

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    Just did another quick and dirty test comparing the Nikon 50 1.8 to the Tamron 60. At f2.2 the Tamron is sharper and much better in the extreme corners than the 50 @ f2.2. The Tamron is still sharper @ f2.8 (which is pretty sharp on the 50). At f4 they are virtually identical in sharpness though the extreme corners are slightly better again on the Tamron.

    Happy days

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Excellent write-up Leigh, sounds like the Tammy 60 shares quite a few characteristics with my Canon 60mm macro, though the Tammy is a stop or so faster.
    Richard
    Canon 5D4 | 11-24 f/4 L | 24-105 f/4 L| 100-400 L II | 85 f/1.2 L | 100 f/2.8 L macro | MP-E 65 f/2.8 macro | 1.4x | 580EX2 | MT-24 Twin Lite | Manfrotto | Photoshop CS5


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    Thanks for the write-up and comparison with the 90mm, I was in the process of buying one but am now reconsidering due to the benefits you've outlined with the 60. I'll have to do some research on that now. Good work.
    IngridM

    Nikon: D700, D300, Grip, 70-200VR, Nikkor 24-70, 14-24, 105VR, Nikkor 300/F4, SB900. For the kids: Olympus: E420 twin lens kit
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    Wish list: Nikon 200-400, 1.7 TC
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    No worries Ingrid. The only drawback of the 60mm is it's price at the moment. I bought mine from Adorama for about $700 including shipping which is a significant saving compared to Oz prices. There also doesn't seem to be much stock of the Nikon mount in Australia at the moment.

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Thanks for the great review, I have been thinking about getting a macro lens for some time and after doing a lot of reading, including your review, I have also just purchased it. I got it two weeks ago but with work etc I have only managed to do a little bit of shooting. I am very impressed with what I have taken so far.
    Richard

    Nikon D90, Fuji S602Z, Nikon FM

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    Thanks Richard. Very happy with mine though it hasn't seen as much action as I would like since I bought it. Hope to see some of your shots in the Macro forum soon

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Member dsaini's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review mate.

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    Digging up an old thread here... but did you ever get to test this setup with the 1.4x tc?

    You've definately perked my interest in this lens!

    Would also be interested in hearing about your lighting setup if you're wiling to share.
    Australian Nature Photography

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    Nikkor 12-24, Nikkor 28-70/2.8, Nikkor 50/1.8, Tamron 60/2, Sigma 100-300/4, Sigma 180/3.5 macro, Nikkor 500/4, 1.4x TC, 1.7x TC

    (Comments And Critique On My Images Most Welcome)

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    Would you advise a complete beginner to get the 90 or the 60? I am looking to get a macro lens and had decided (after advice on another thread) to get the Tammy 90. Then I was advised to look at your pics (which I had already seen and admired greatly) and to consider the 60mm. Just wondered whether one is easier to use than the other or is there no real difference?
    Thanks
    Sally
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